Raising the Awareness of Virus Infection of the Heart

Dr. Antoniak Studied the Interactions Between the Coagulation System and the Immune System After a Virus Infection

The Myocarditis Foundation research fellowship grant gave me the opportunity to concentrate on my interest to understand the interactions between the coagulation system and the immune system after a virus infection.

During my fellowship I investigated the role of the protease activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) in coxsackievirus B3 induced myocarditis. PAR-1, also known as the thrombin receptor, mediates platelets activation and the cross-talk between coagulation and inflammation.

In my study, I found that PAR-1 deficiency leads to a reduced innate immune response during coxsackievirus B3 infection of mice. The reduced early innate immune reaction was associated with uncontrolled virus replication and more acute myocarditis that led to a greater impairment of heart function in PAR-1 deficient mice.

My data suggest that PAR-1 activation is necessary for an effective innate immune response after coxsackievirus B3 infection. My research observations were presented at scientific meetings with international researchers and physicians to raise the awareness of virus infection of the heart.

In addition, the support by the Myocarditis Foundation made it possible to initiate a productive collaboration between the McAllister Heart Institute at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one of the leading myocarditis research and clinical centers in Germany, the Charité – Campus Benjamin Franklin in Berlin.

I am thankful and appreciate the generous support by the Myocarditis Foundation and its supporters.

Beyond the duration of my Myocarditis Foundation fellowship, I hope I can contribute to the knowledge of the myocarditis pathologic mechanism in the future.

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